Yorkshire’s bid for an immediate return to Division One took a step backwards last week as they went down to Leicestershire, a team that failed to win a championship match last season. This week they are up against fellow relegated club, Gloucestershire, who fought back against Glamorgan in the last round, after facing a 239 run first innings deficit. The main lesson from last week’s results was that there are going to be no easy games for any county in this Division.
Against Glamorgan, Gloucestershire played three seamers and a number of spin options headed by the excellent Zafar Gohar who, even in April, was able to cause the Glamorgan batters some discomfort. They may however want to increase their pace options as it was left to Tom Price, with help from Marchant De Lange, to shoulder most of the seam bowling burden. Marcus Harris came out of the game with a total of 207 runs and is clearly in excellent form. A century from Graeme van Buuren and half centuries from Miles Hammond, Chris Dent and Tom Price, means that a number of the Gloucestershire batters have the feeling of leather on willow.
Yorkshire meanwhile will need to regroup. They did amass 517 at 5.06 runs per over in their first innings against Leicestershire, with centuries from Finlay Bean and Shai Hope, but it was the bowlers, in particular the pace attack, that was unable to gain control, initially in the Leicestershire first innings of 415 and then in the dramatic run chase of 392/7 in 85.5 overs. The pitch had flattened out and Yorkshire declared their second innings, but stand-in captain, Adam Lyth would have expected more from his seamers.
Yorkshire will start this game as favourites, particularly with the return of Matthew Fisher and the addition of Saud Shakeel to their squad. However, Gloucestershire showed last week that they have plenty of fight in them and will fancy going toe-to-toe with the men from the white rose county.
Tom Price showed n Cardiff why he has been identified as one to watch this season. He posed a constant threat to the Glamorgan batters and his match figures of 6/77 did him a disservice. He is able to move the ball, predominantly into the right handed batters and with 54 wickets at just 21.62 from the 16 first class matches he has played (half of those in Division One) his career could not be off to a better start.
Ottis Gibson will be pleased to have pace man Matthew Fisher back in the Yorkshire squad. He may only have the one Test appearance, back in March last year in the ill-fated West Indies series, but he will certainly be one of the bowlers in consideration for the Ashes series. Last year his only Championship outings were against Gloucestershire. During the first, in April, he developed a stress fracture of his back, and he was only recovered in time to face the same opponents at the end of the season. He did pick up eleven wickets in those two matches and will be keen to get into action again.
Paul van Meekeren has been added to the 13-man Gloucestershire squad that travelled to Sophia Gardens last week. He and Josh Shaw may come into the eleven with Ajeet Singh Dale dropping out after an indifferent last match. One of Ollie Price or Jack Taylor may also have to sit this one out.
Gloucestershire squad: Graeme Van Buuren (c), James Bracey (wk), Ben Charlesworth, Marchant De Lange, Chris Dent, Zafar Gohar, Miles Hammond, Marcus Harris, Ollie Price, Tom Price, Josh Shaw, Ajeet Singh Dale, Jack Taylor
Matthew Fisher has recovered from the broken hand he suffered on England Lions duty in February. It appears that Jonny Tattersall is still struggling with a finger injury and is replaced by Pakistani batter Shakeel, signed as a temporary replacement for club captain Shan Masood. Shakeel has only played five Test matches, but currently averages 72.5, with a century and five fifties.
Yorkshire squad: Adam Lyth (c), Finlay Bean, Dominic Bess, Ben Coad, Mickey Edwards, Matthew Fisher, George Hill, Shai Hope (wk), Dawid Malan, Matthew Revis, Saud Shakeel, Jordan Thompson, James Wharton
Weather and Conditions
It has hardly been summery in the UK this week and the groundspeople around the country will not have had an easy time preparing pitches. If play is able to start, Thursday looks fine before more rain sweeps in on Friday. The weekend is then set fair with temperatures rising.
Bristol is usually a friendly surface for the batters, but the recent weather will mean bowling first is going to be advantageous.
Date: 13th April 2023
Ground: Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol
Odds (SkyBet): N/A